UN expert seeks urgent review of Saudi terrorism law

Saudi Arabia should urgently review its definition of terrorism under a law used to prosecute non-violent journalists and human rights defenders, according to a United Nations special rapporteur.

After a visit to the kingdom, Ben Emmerson tells reporters that a 2014 counter-terrorism law contains an “unacceptably broad definition” of the crime and does not comply with international rights standards.

“I strongly condemn the use of counter-terrorism legislation and penal sanctions against individuals peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression”, religion, or association, says Emmerson, who reports to the UN’s Human Rights Council.

He urges Saudi Arabia to create an independent review mechanism to examine cases of people jailed for exercising such rights “and to commute or pardon all such prisoners with immediate effect.”


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